The Drake Hotel Plays the Heritage Destruction Game.

The City’s Heritage Preservation Services Recommended Designation. But the Drake, the Councillor and FGDMA had other plans.

This article reflects the opinion of the author only and is not written jointly with the Sunnyside Historical Society.

How to Play the Heritage Destruction Game.

Hide the historic beauty until people forget about it, paint it, cover it with siding or stucco. Allow deterioration with no maintenance or repairs like plastic on roofs that causes rot.
Replace heritage features with minimal unpainted wood fix ups with no detailing.
Repair arches unevenly and with un-matched brick and mortar.
Eventually something becomes dangerous and, hallelujah, you get a demolition order. (reference 3)

The Committee of Adjustments referred the Drake’s plans to City Heritage Preservation Services. Heritage Preservation Services said yes to Heritage Designation. (reference 1) Councillor Bailao chose another direction. She tabled it as `received for information’ so it will essentially die. (reference 1) I believe this destruction of our Heritage will lower area property values significantly, dampen tourism in Toronto, and damage an important part of our heritage during our Sesquicentennial year. If the Drake Hotel is allowed to proceed with this Heritage Destruction the continuity of the Heritage district between Spadina and Parkdale will be gravely weakened, leaving Historic Parkdale more vulnerable to the ongoing glass and steel invasion. Watch as The Drake makes it’s next move in the Heritage Destruction game,  as shown in the following two pictures.

The following research by Toronto Heritage Preservation Services is fascinating.  Enjoy.



This research and evaluation report describes the history, architecture and context of the properties at 1142 and 1144 Queen Street West, and applies evaluation criteria to determine whether they merit designation under Part IV, Section 29 of the Ontario Heritage Act. The conclusions of the research and evaluation are found in Section 4 (Summary).


West Queen West
The properties at 1142 and 1144 Queen Street West, on the north side of Queen Street West are located in a unique area of Toronto where diverse historic factors of the Town of York’s settlement and land survey determined the development and particular character of the neighbourhood still evident today. (Image 1)

These historic factors are as follows: Queen Street, or Lot Street as it was originally known, was the boundary between the town of York and Fort York’s Garrison Reserve on the south side of Queen, and the 100-acre Park Lots granted to individuals such as loyalists and the military on the north side. (Image 2)

Park Lot 27, the future location of the properties at 1142 and 1144 Queen Street West, was granted and then owned by a series of important individuals in the early history of the town of York such as Thomas Ridout, Surveyor General of Upper Canada (1754-1829), William Allan, Lieutenant Colonel during the War of 1812 (1772-1852) and Robert Isaac Dey Gray, Solicitor General of Upper Canada (1772-1804) all of whom had extensive land holdings, and established their home estates elsewhere, contributing to the initial lack of development of Lot 27.
The land on the south side of Queen Street was reserved for the Garrison Reserve1 an open area of defensible ground surrounding Fort York and protecting the town of York to the east. The Reserve’s western boundary was located at today’s Dufferin Street, just west of the subject properties. As the town of York grew and expanded westward encroaching on the Reserve, the reserve land closest to York was sold off for private development, but that further west was allocated for government institutions. These would include jails, reformatories, hospitals, facilities for mental health and ultimately libraries, and post offices. In the neighbourhood of Queen Street West, Queen Street was a boundary between private development on the north side and government institutions on the south.
The second important factor is that Queen Street was also an important route connecting York with the towns across the province and beyond. In the east, it crossed the Don connecting York with the highway that travelled west to Kingston. To the west, it led to the Lakeshore Road providing a route around the lake to Niagara. It also connected, at the junction with today’s Ossington Avenue, with Dundas Street, which was initially surveyed by August Jones in 1794 and intended to be the highway connecting with the city of London. Dundas Street headed north from Queen and then turned north-west on a diagonal route that it still follows today, ultimately continuing as Highway 5. As travel by stage coach was slow, the need for rest and refreshment resulted in the taverns and around them settlements. By the 1840s, Blue Bell Village had been established at the north-east corner of Dundas Street and Queen Street West with two taverns, one known as the Blue Bell. As the map indicates development, including that of Lot 27, initially
1 The Garrison Reserve was also known as the Military Reserve and the Garrison Common. Intention to Designate 1142 and 1144 Queen Street West – Attachment 5 4
followed this route north-west. (Image 3)

Meanwhile the Provincial Lunatic Asylum, designed by the architect John G. Howard, had been constructed in 1850 on the south side of Queen Street West with its great dome terminating the axis of Dundas Street.
Over the next 30 years, the area along the Dundas Street route would be substantially surveyed and developed. By 1872, a half-mile race course had been established on the southern half of Lot 27. On the south side of Queen Street, the asylum was joined by the Crystal Palace (1858) on the Agricultural Show Grounds, and the Central Prison (1877) as well as the Mercer Reformatory for Women (1880). Transportation routes through the area were augmented by the arrival in the 1850s of the Northern Railway, known as the Grand Trunk Railway by 1859, and the Toronto Grey and Bruce Railway, which cut diagonally across the Reserve at its north-west corner.
The arrival of the two railway lines had a decisive impact on the area. (Image 4)

The remaining Garrison Reserve was taken up with railway yards and industries soon located on the adjacent lands. John Abell & Co. occupied a large area opposite Beaconsfield Avenue, just south of the subject properties. Parkdale Station, at the south-east corner of Dufferin Street and Queen Street West, serving the junction of the two railway lines caused adjacent land to be ripe for residential development too. Lots 27 and 28 were surveyed and streets such as Gladstone Avenue, Northcote Avenue, Beaconsfield Avenue and Lisgar Street provided the structure for a new neighbourhood. The land on the north side of Queen Street West was surveyed with long lots with their narrow ends facing Queen and laneways behind on the north. Part of the commercial development that followed on the north side of Queen Street West included the construction of hotels, including the Gladstone (1889-90) and Hotel Cecil, now known as the Drake Hotel, first opened under the proprietorship of Matthew Ronan in 1885. 2
By 1879 the land on the north side of Queen Street West, on the two blocks between Northcote Avenue and Beaconsfield Avenue, and Beaconsfield Avenue and Lisgar Street, was registered as Plan D287 and subdivided into 10 lots on each block. (Image 5)

The assessment rolls indicate that the land was owned by Valancey E. Fuller, Trustee, Hamilton.3 By September 1880, Lots 11-14 had been purchased by Philip Peppiatt and the lots were recorded as vacant.4 The following September, the four lots had been surveyed as Plan 374 and sub-divided into 6 properties each measuring 18×100.’ 5
The assessment rolls in September 1881 indicate that the buildings on the first four lots, 998, 1000, 1002 and 1004 Queen Street West were still unfinished and owned by Peppiatt. 998 and 1000 Queen Street West are now known as the subject properties 1142 and 1144 Queen Street West. The last two buildings were complete and occupied; 1006 Queen Street West was rented by Donald Currie, age 70 who was running a boarding house and 1008 Queen Street West is occupied by William Bywater, age 63, grocer. Both properties were owned by the London and Canadian Loan and Agency Company.
2 City of Toronto Directory, 1885.
3 Assessment Rolls, St. Stephen’s Ward, 1880, recorded in September 1879
4 Assessment Rolls, St. Stephen’s Ward, 1881, recorded in September 1880.
5 Assessment Rolls, St. Stephen’s Ward, 1882, recorded in September 1881. Intention to Designate 1142 and 1144 Queen Street West – Attachment 5 5
By the following September, 1882, the assessment rolls indicate that all buildings were complete and occupied and Philip Peppiatt was no longer an owner. (Image 6)

At 998 Queen Street West the property was occupied by Joseph H. Devaney, grocer and owned by James Johnston. The next four properties were owned by the London and Canadian Loan and Investment Co. At 1000 Queen Street West the property was occupied by Charles Dickinson, a carpenter. The other three properties, 1002, 1004 and 1006 Queen Street West were occupied as follows: William Ellerby, bookbinder, Sarah Robertson, dry goods, and Henry Lyons, CNR Engineer. 1008 Queen Street West was still occupied by William and Jane Bywater, who were also recorded as the owners.
The Directories for the City of Toronto6 record a pattern of small businesses with the business owners living in the premises above in the early years. The businesses included, apart from those listed above, shoe makers, dry good, barbers, cigars and fancy goods and a jeweller, as well as the Railway Men’s Christian Association.
In 1884, Matthew Ronan was recorded as living at 1008 (later known as1052 Queen Street West). The following year he occupied 1006-1008 Queen Street West and the premises were noted in the city directory as a hotel. By 1890, the street numbers on Queen changed to the present numbering and 1050 and 1052 Queen Street West was known as Hotel Cecil. Goads Atlas, 1924, shows Hotel Cecil as occupying the entire lots at 1050 -1052 Queen Street West. (Image 7)

In 1949, the hotel was purchased along with the two adjacent properties at 1046-1048 and redeveloped as the Drake Hotel. The new owners were Michael and Catherine Lundy and the architect was Irving M. Saunders. 7
From 1890 until 1950, 1142 Queen Street West was occupied by a butcher shop and from 1890-1930 the owner was primarily Edwin J. Manser.8 By 1960 it was known as Michael’s Cigar and Variety Store. By 1980 it was the Regional Regulator and Torch Repairs for welding equipment and by 2000 it was Toron Appliances repair shop, owned by Tung Van Le who sold it between 2004 and 2006 to Flophouse Chic Investments Ltd., the current owner.
From 1890 to 1940, 1144 Queen Street W operated primarily as a fruit seller’s premises, operated by Andrew Deferari until c.1930 and then by Sofia Dickler and in the 1940s by Frank Tropea. By 1950 it became a fish and chip restaurant first known as Julia Fish & Chips and finally known as Little Inn Fish & Chips Queen Star Restaurant which was owned by the Chau family who sold the property to Flophouse Chic Investments Ltd. between 2004 and 2006.
From 1950 onwards, the Directories indicate that the upper two floors act as two separate residential units. Sometimes but not consistently, the business owners of the ground floor
6 City of Toronto Directories, CTA
7 Building Permit 3511, 1949,
8 City Directories. Intention to Designate 1142 and 1144 Queen Street West – Attachment 5 6
occupy one of the residential units. The building permits for the properties dating from the 1960-1990s reference two dwelling premises above the shops.


The six properties, now known as 1142-1150 Queen Street West, on Plan 374, owned and developed by Philip Peppiatt, were built together as row. (Image 9)

The property furthest west, on Lot A known as 1008 and later 1152 Queen Street West, differed, as it was set on the corner with Beaconsfield Avenue and had the advantage of an exposed side (west) elevation. Each building had an L-shaped plan which was paired with the adjacent building creating a series of 3 ‘T’s. Each building fully occupied its lot, fronting onto Queen Street with a two-and-a-half story block measuring 18 x 40′ and a customary, narrower, two-storey tail, of 13.5 x 21’ and a brick shed of unrecorded dimensions.9 (Image 5, as above) Each building in the row had a mansard roof facing Queen Street West and a flat roof on the wing behind. The plans, massing, and roof types along with the facade details discussed below are representative of the mid-late Victorian-style Toronto buildings combining commercial and residential functions.
The design of the original six, south-facing, street elevations is still present at 1142 and 1144 Queen Street West. (Image 10)

While none of the original ground floor storefronts survive, all of the original glazing has been replaced, and 1146-1152 have been dramatically transformed, the pattern of openings remains at 1142 and 1144 Queen Street West. These two facades mirror each other, corresponding to the plan of the building, which has the staircases located along their shared parti-wall. Each building features a large shop window with recessed entries for the door to the shop and a second door to the residences at the second and third levels.
At the second floor level, the original pairs of windows are still present, and those at 1144 Queen Street West have semi-circular headed openings with a brick keystone projecting in relief. (Image 11)

This corresponds to the projecting quoins still present at the corners of the elevation. The brick cladding has been painted over, but it is likely, as the restored Drake Hotel’s west elevation shows, that this cladding would feature yellow brick patterning in the quoins, the window heads and likely in the vertical brick course linking the arched openings together. (Images 12 and 13)

The combination of red and buff brick cladding had been a characteristic of architecture in Upper Canada from its earliest brick buildings with the buff brick standing in for stone, classical details such as keystones in window heads and quoins at the building’s corners. By the 1870s-1880s the red and buff brick was given a richer and more elaborate decorative approach reflecting the High Victorian sensibility for greater surface ornament. Buff brick was used not just for classical architectural elements as in the Georgian architecture of the early 19th century but added decorative coursing, as well as
9 Assessment Rolls for the Ward of St. Stephen City of Toronto, 1882 recorded on 28 September 1881 and illustrated on Goads Map 1884. Intention to Designate 1142 and 1144 Queen Street West – Attachment 5 7
striped patterning. These in turn reflected the broader references that informed architects who no longer relied on the classical canon of Greece and Rome but looked further afield. The rich brick patterning of Venice as well as the influential striped patterning of arches in Islamic architecture was recorded by English architects and artists on their travels through Europe, particularly Cordoba, as well as North Africa. The corrugated aluminum panelling at 1142 Queen Street West was added by 1986
10 however, it is probable that the original brick facade with its Victorian red and buff brick patterning remains intact below.
At the roof level, the original bell-cast curve typical of mansard roofs survives as does the slate cladding with its pattern of bands of rectangular and hexagonal slates at 1144 Queen Street West. (Image 14)

Mansard roofs were a distinctive feature of the Second Empire Style, which became established under Napoleon III’s transformation of Paris in the 1850s and 1860s. Its popularity in Toronto was increased, following the completion of the Ottawa Parliament Buildings, 1859-65. The mansard roofs were useful in their practical accommodation of a third storey within their nearly vertical roof slopes which often featured a concave bell-cast curve, as here on Queen Street West. The pair of dormer windows, with their gable roofs, retains the semi-circular-headed openings of the original window openings as well as the scroll brackets supporting the plain bargeboard. Below the eaves are elaborately carved scroll brackets and the just discernible pattern of brick panels as seen in the Images 12 and 13 on the restored west elevation of the Drake Hotel. While the roof at 1142 Queen Street West has been clad in aluminum siding, the dormers with their gable roofs and semi-circular headed window openings are still intact and it may be that, beneath the siding, the original slate roof remains.
At the rear of the property the original 1880s configuration of a narrower, two-storey tail remains, however the sheds appear to have been removed. (Image 15)


The properties at 1142 and 1144 Queen Street West have contextual importance at several different scales within the Queen Street West neighbourhood. First, of the original six-building row of Plan 374 constructed in 1881 at 998-1008 Queen Street West, now known as1142-1152 Queen Street West, 1142 and 1144 Queen Street West have the best preserved original elevations and building form.
Second, as can be seen from the remaining elevations at 1142 and 1144 Queen Street West and the restored west elevation of the Drake Hotel which was part of the original row, this group of six was designed to correspond with the six buildings developed on the west side of Beaconsfield Avenue at 1054-1064 Queen Street West. (Images 16, 17, 18)

The east elevation of the first building in this group, 1054 Queen Street West, facing the Drake across Beaconsfield Avenue, presents the matching details of buff and red brick
10 Building Permit 241725, October 1986, drawings indicate that the aluminum siding was already in place at this time. Intention to Designate 1142 and 1144 Queen Street West – Attachment 5 8
cladding, and dormer windows in a mansard roof. (Images 19 and 20)

Coincidentally, like the Drake Hotel, 1054 Queen Street West was also given a later renovation of its south, and a portion of its east, elevations with the addition of the stone cladding, here at the first floor level.
Third, these two rows of six properties, on either side of Beaconsfield Avenue, frame the entrance to the avenue where houses, developed at the same time, have corresponding building elements including being two-and-a-half stories, some having mansard roofs, semi-circular headed windows and similar buff and red brick patterning, particularly the quoins at the corners and the striped patterning of brick in the window heads. (Images 21-25)

The significance of Beaconsfield Avenue’s heritage has already been recognized as many of the properties are included on the City of Toronto Heritage Register and recently, the avenue was nominated by the Ward Councillor for a Heritage Conservation District Study.11
Fourth and finally, the form and details of the properties at 1142 and 1144 Queen Street West which are visually and historically linked to their surroundings are also significant in their contribution to defining and maintaining the original late 19th century, Victorian built form which provides the fundamental base for the character of this portion of Queen Street West between Ossington Avenue and Dufferin Street. (Images 26-28)

The properties are located between Dovercourt Road and Gladstone Avenue which represent the east and west limits of the nominated boundary for the West Queen West Heritage Conservation District Study area which was prioritized by Toronto City Council on March 31, 2015.12 (Image 29) With the Gladstone Hotel to the west, and the Post Office, Library, YWCA and row housing at 1075-1085 already listed on the Heritage Register, this portion of Queen Street is an area which has been recognized for its significant heritage properties. (Image 30)
The Queen Street West neighbourhood continues to reveal the impact of the 1793 survey of the Town of York. (Images 8, 29 and 30)

The land on the north side of Queen bears the traces of the long narrow Park Lots and is primarily characterized by dense north-south streets which ran along the edges, or up the middles, of the park lots and are currently primarily framed by densely-woven housing stock with characteristic Victorian elements. On the south side of Queen, government institutions occupying the former Garrison Reserve, railway lands and remains of industrial premises, and diagonal routes such as Sudbury Street continue to configure this area providing it with a character that is distinct from its northern neighbour. The late 19th century commercial buildings on the north side of Queen Street West, including those at 1142 and 1144, fronting this southern development continue to be important representatives in this interesting history of this portion of the city from its first beginnings.
11 The nomination was made by Councillor Bailao on November 10, 2015.
Intention to Designate 1142 and 1144 Queen Street West – Attachment 5 9



Following research and evaluation according to Regulation 9/06, it has been determined that the properties at 1142 and 1144 Queen Street West have design, associative and contextual values.
Located on the north side of Queen Street West between Beaconsfield Avenue and Lisgar Street, the two buildings at 1142 and 1144 Queen Street West are representative examples of late Victorian-style, commercial buildings that are valued for their historical association with the particular mid-late nineteenth century development of this portion Queen Street West. The two buildings support the historic character of the West Queen West neighbourhood. Contextually, the mansard-roofed, two-and-a-half storey, brick-clad buildings contribute to the consistency of the late Victorian built-form, which defines the character of this portion of the north side of Queen Street West from Lisgar Street to Northcote Avenue and the adjacent residential street of Beaconsfield Avenue.
Intention to Designate 1142 and 1144 Queen Street West – Attachment 5 11


Archival Sources
• Assessment Rolls, St. Stephen’s Ward (City of Toronto Archives [CTA])
• Browne, J. O. Map of the Township of York in the County of York Upper Canada. 1851.
• Building Permits, BP2349, 1947; BP67229, 1961; BP199100, 1983; BP 241725, 1986; BP263224, 1988; BP 402335, 1997; BP413594,1998
• City of Toronto Building Records
• City of Toronto Directories
• Fleming, Ridout &Schreiber. Plan of the City of Toronto, Canada West. 1857 (CTA)
• Goad, Charles E. Atlas of the City of Toronto and Suburbs. 1884, 1890, 1899, 1903, 1913, 1924. (CTA)
• Wadsworth and Unwin. Map of the City of Toronto – Tax Exemptions. 1872.
Secondary Sources
• Arthur, Eric, Toronto: No Mean City. 1966.
• Brown, Ron. Toronto’s Lost Villages. 1997.
• Dendy, William and William Kilburn. Toronto Observed: Its Architecture, Patrons, and History. 1986.
• ERA Architects. The Drake Hotel Heritage Impact Assessment, 1140-1150 Queen Street West. February 2016.
• Lundell, Liz. The Estates of Old Toronto. 1997.
• Maitland, Leslie, Jacqueline Hucker and Shannon Ricketts. A Guide To Canadian Architectural Styles. 1992.
• Ng, Nathan Historical Maps of Toronto, website
• Ontario Genealogical Society

Author’s notes:

See full screen copies of all images.

How to Play the Heritage Destruction Game.

Hide the historic beauty until people forget about it. Paint it, cover it with siding or stucco. Allow deterioration with no maintenance or repairs like plastic on roofs that causes rot.
Replace historic features with minimal unpainted wood fix ups with no detailing.
Repair arches unevenly and with unmatching brick and mortar.
Eventually something becomes dangerous and, hallelujah, you get a demolition order!


  1. The content of this article is from the following carefully researched report.
    regards 1142 and 1144 QUEEN STREET WEST
    Prepared by: Heritage Preservation Services, City of Toronto, March 2016
  2. Jessica Wilson VP Ossington Community Association prepared this assessment, here of the City’s, 4. West Queen West Study Report – SHS article, here. Jessica wants one HCD for all WQW.
  3. Read about it: 17 Close Ave, The Heritage Destruction Game Part 1
    and The UHN Heritage Destruction Game at 17 Close Ave Part 2
This entry was posted in Architecture, Buildings, Parkdale, Queen St W. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to The Drake Hotel Plays the Heritage Destruction Game.

  1. Daryl Landau says:

    “This design pushes the practice of conservation and challenges our idea of building tradition, evolving city form and furthering cultural value,” added heritage specialist Philip Evans of ERA Architects.

  2. Paul Durfee Oberst says:

    Sorry, Jack Gibney.

    I am a professional heritage consultant and my credentials equal or better those of the staff at HPS. They have authority. That doesn’t make them authoritative.

    • jack gibney says:

      I agree, that just being an ‘expert’ doesn’t make one’s comments authoritative. I read the report carefully and researched the neighborhood myself. I agree with the report and I called it ‘authoritative’ because that is my opinion of the report. I also do not dismiss the opinion of every consultant, but I am expressing my opinion here. What do you think of the content of the report?

  3. Good post as usual, Jack. Besides the worrisome trends you note, there are three big morals of the weird Drake file, which are concerning even if you happen to like the proposed development.

    First, developers can slide big projects in as ‘minor variances’ through the Committee of Adjustment, sidestepping the public consultation required for zoning or Official Plan Amendments.

    Second, even if City Planning and Toronto Preservation Services go to the trouble of trying to heritage designate some buildings (as they tried to do here, for 1142-44 Queen, in a 30-page report), if the owner wants to demolish the building(s), the designation of the buildings can be quashed, as was done in this case when Ana Bailao moved at City Council to effectively let the intended designations die.

    Third, a lot of very important planning in Toronto is being done by private consultants whose livelihood depends on the development industry, in ways that directly contravene the views of City Planning. In this case, the Heritage Impact Assessment by the private firm hired by the Drake arrived at drastically different conclusions about 1142-44 than did Planning and Preservation Services. And yet more importantly, the private FGMDA consultant that, for reasons I still do not understand, is running the WQW Heritage Study, not only did not include 1142-44 on her purportedly complete list of historically representative buildings in the study area, she claimed (for reasons that many, including Ken Greenberg, observed do not hold water) that the entire ten-block stretch of Queen from Shaw to Dufferin (containing 93 Victorians, the Great Hall, the Gladstone, the Old Post Office, the intersection with historic Ossington, the site of the former Provincial Lunatic Asylum and heritage brick wall, yadda yadda) didn’t have sufficient integrity to receive HCD treatment.

    Those are three good reasons why WQW, and other character-rich areas of the city, like Ossington, need HCDs—and not clearly ineffective alternatives like ‘spot designation’.

    • jack gibney says:

      Consultants cannot be independent if they hope to win repeat contracts. The City’s Heritage Preservation Services department Recommended Designation. Heritage Preservation Services is authoritative and has more weight than any consultants report.

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